Happy E3 week everyone! The festivities started back on Friday with the Google Stadia presentation, followed by presentations from EA, Microsoft, Bethesda, Devolver, Square Enix, PC Gamer Magazine, and Nintendo. However, while we are all salivating over the games coming out over the course of 2019 and beyond, there are actual brand new games coming out this week; I know, right?!
On another note, this marks the one year anniversary of Tuesday New Games (or New Game Releases, whichever you prefer), and I’m beyond thrilled with the reception it has gotten. To have you all come here and read my silly nonsense and laugh at my corny jokes is a real treat. I’ve even prepared a special video thank you; enjoy whatever the heck is going on with my neck (I guess it’s called ‘getting older and fatter‘):
Dragon Star Varnir (PS4) – Releases Jun. 11th
A JRPG seems like an odd game to release during E3, when pretty much the entire gaming fandom is glued to their screens watching wall to wall coverage of the hottest new games. At what point can they stop to play a game that will clearly demand a ton of their time? In any case, Dragon Star Varnir is about a young man named Zephy who hunts and kills witches. While on the hunt, he is attacked and left on the brink of death. Two witches take pity on him and nurse him back to health on dragon’s blood, which then turns him into a witch; what a twist! Zephy reluctantly teams up with the witches and over time learns that the empire he once served is actually…the bad guys! Combat is turn based, but with a unique twist, as battles take place on a three-tiered plane, with most of the combat happening on the ground, but occasionally a few feet off the ground, and in the sky. Again, I’m curious why this would be released during a time of year when most gamer’s are distracted by E3, perhaps it’s a stinker?
PlataGO! Super Platform Game Maker (PC/Switch) – Releases Jun. 13th (Currently in Early Access on Steam)
In 2015, armchair level designers were delighted to receive Super Mario Maker, a robust level creator for arguably the best 2D platforming series ever made. But what if you’re one of the (many) who didn’t own a Wii U, and you have no plans to buy a Switch? Well, you can get PlataGO! Super Platform Game Maker for PC (and Switch). Create and design your own levels, share them with friends, and let your inner game designer come to life. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this probably isn’t as good as Super Mario Maker, but at least it’s an alternative.
Ports and Re-releases:
Leisure Suit Larry: Wet Dream Don’t Dry (PS4/Switch) – Releases Jun. 13th
Finally, a point & click adventure game for consoles, because I just love using a controller to move a cursor around. If you aren’t familiar with Leisure Suit Larry, he’s a loser who is always trying to find women to fuck him, and always strikes out. It’s a crude, very un-woke series that will probably get you ostracized from your friends, family, and colleagues if they knew you played it, except that one guy in your office who you just know will casually drop the N-word into conversations with the “right kind” of people.
Hexologic (Xbox One) – Releases Jun. 13th
Released a couple weeks ago on PC, the puzzle game Hexologic is now coming to the Xbone. It’s apparently Sudoku-esque in its execution, so if that does anything for you I hope you’ll enjoy this.
Forza Horizon 4: LEGO Speed Champions (Xbox One) – Releases Jun. 13th
Get ready for stunning, 4K resolution of Lego bricks through the POWER of Xbox One X, the world’s most powerful console. Yes, this is available in the Xbox Store. For you Forza Horizon 4 owners out there, with this new expansion you’ll explore a Lego world that features a race track, stunt-park, and some kooky places like a UFO crash site and a pirate cove. There are a ton of challenges to complete, and a lot of really cool cars built out of Legos. It looks pretty neat, if I’m being honest.
That really awesome game that Nintendo said would be “Available today!” (Switch) – Releases Jun. 11th
Wow, who would have thought [INSERT GAME TITLE HERE] would arrive today?! I am beyond surprised, I would have thought this was months away, but Nintendo did it again and really knocked it out of the park; kudos to them! I think [INSERT GAME TITLE HERE] might just be my GOTY, yeah, I went there.
SUPPLEMENTAL SECTION UPDATED AFTER NINTENDO DIRECT:
Collection of Mana (Switch) – Releases Jun. 11th
Released last year in Japan, the Mana collection is now here in North America! Featuring the Game Boy title Final Fantasy Adventure, the SNES title (and one of my all time favorite games) Secret of Mana, and the previously Japan exclusive SNES title Trials of Mana. If you only get one collection of classic games today, make it this one, because…well…just keep reading…
Contra: Anniversary Collection (PC/PS4/Switch/Xbox One) – Releases Jun. 11th
The classic run and gun series is back, in this third collection of classic titles from Konami following the release of the Arcade Collection and the Castlevania Collection. Looking over the slate of titles, while I think I enjoy Contra the most as a series, this collection might be the worst. While it features ten games, we get three versions of Contra, two versions of Super C, two versions of Contra III, and two versions of Contra: Hard Corps. There is at least one other NES Contra game we could have received, as well as one (or two) PS1 titles and at least two PS2 titles. I get that they were trying to keep these to the NES/SNES era, but come on, this is kind of scraping the bottom of the barrel. In any case, I will DEFINITELY be picking this up because I’m a retro game cuck, but if you aren’t a super fan, there isn’t much here for you.
Cadence of Hyrule (Switch) – Releases Jun. 13th
While not quite the “…and it’s out today…” announcement we usually get, it will come out this week, which is still pretty exciting! Fight monsters to the rhythm of the beat, as you try and save Hyrule from evil. Play as Link, Zelda, or as series regular Cadence, as you hack and slash your way through procedurally created overworlds and dungeons.
One Year Ago:
Technically, the first Tuesday New Games (New Game Releases) column was last one year ago last week, but I totally missed it, oops. In any case, we’re going to celebrate the one year anniversary this week, and I’m also going to debut the new feature “One Year Ago”, because nothing is more important that looking backwards.
Top Game – Jurassic World: Evolution (PC/PS4/Xbox One) – Released Jun. 12th, 2018
Alright, so the top game last year was the theme park/zoo simulator Jurassic World: Evolution. Here’s what I said about it, “If I was still 12 years old I’d be going wild for this, but 37 year old Andy is tamping his expectation on this”. I never played it, and I’m not sure I ever will, and critics didn’t quite love it either, giving the game middle of the road reviews and receiving a “68” on Metacritic. However, regular commenter Drinking With Skeletons was looking forward to playing this, saying, “Honestly, every criticism of JW Evolution sounds like it could be levied against Operation Genesis, and I’ve loved Genesis ever since it came out, and have returned to it periodically for like 15 years now. So I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll enjoy Evolution even if it’s no deeper an experience”.
Interesting tidbits – In talking about Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles, I asked “Will we eventually see a day where we only buy games digitally and then just stream them”, to which E3 2019 said, “Yes” with, if I’m remembering correctly, four streaming services announced. This was also the week where I learned the lesson about release dates changing unexpectedly, as I said that the Flashback remastered edition was coming out. I was just a foolish boy when this started…but I had heart.
What were we saying in the comments? The major consensus was that no one wanted to pick up anything new that week, except for Drinking With Skeletons, who really wanted to play Jurassic World: Evolution.
Notable Releases from 10, 20 and 30 years ago:
The specter of E3 has loomed over gaming for at least 25 years, which is probably why I could not find a single notable game released this week in 1999 (or Phantom Menace syndrome was still kicking). In any case, like 2018, the promise of a movie tie-in game seemed to be enough to get people out to stores, and in 1989, I mean, E3 wasn’t even around, so, why not a feudal Japan simulation game.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game (DS/PC/PS2/PS3/Wii/Xbox 360) – Released Jun. 16th, 2009: Wiki Link
Despite having one fantastic film, and one garbage film, people seemed to always ask “When are we getting Ghostbusters 3?!”. Well, after years of Bill Murray basically telling Dan Aykroyd to go fuck himself, he must have realized that it doesn’t take much effort to sit at home and record dialogue after his stint in 2004’s Garfield. Reuniting the original four Ghostbusters (Aykroyd, Murray, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson), this new story in the Ghostbusters franchise saw you playing as “The Rookie”, an every-man, working alongside the iconic originals. With an original script co-written by Ramis & Aykroyd, the game was, in the words of critics, a “…love letter to Ghostbusters fans…”. It was very well received upon release, even getting high marks, and praise, for the Wii version and its motion controls. It really seems that everyone involved with the making of this game took the task seriously and didn’t rush it. The short length might suggest that they may have had more time to polish it than a typical licensed game, but despite that, critics and players still found the game to be a lot of fun. Fans of the game will also be happy to learn that a remastered version of the title will be releasing later this year on modern consoles and PC, so hooray for that!
Fighter Maker (PlayStation) – Released May 31st, 1999: Wiki Link
Like I mentioned earlier, I couldn’t find any information on any new releases for this week in 1999, so to make due, here is a game that came out on May 31st, 1999. Fighter Maker was, from what I can tell (and remember), a complete piece of trash. Despite a promising idea of creating your own fighters and unique moves, the game was ugly, clunky, and absolutely no fun to play. While I’m sure there is a niche market out there that had a blast making their own characters, the ability to not really do anything with them was a bust. Unlike Agetec Inc.’s RPG Maker, this series did not last, getting only one sequel before being quietly put out to pasture.
Nobunaga’s Ambition (NES) – Released Jun. 1989: Wiki Link
Growing up I used to read Nintendo Power, the definitive video game magazine for all things Nintendo. In every issue they had this feature where they would show what games people liked the best, with Player’s Picks, Pro’s Picks and Dealer’s Picks. Going through this, I would check and see how my favorite games compared to others, and I would always see this one game with a weird name show up in the Pro’s Picks, Nobunaga’s Ambition. I had no idea what the hell this game was, and I only knew what the word ‘ambition’ meant, not ‘No-bung-ah’ (I swear this is how I thought it was pronounced until the year 2017, yeah, I know). After renting a copy of it from Blockbuster I soon figured out that this game all about stats and strategy was not for a nine year old, and I figured that the pro’s were full of shit and I would go back to playing Ninja Gaiden and Mega Man 2. If I had only been a bit more patient, or perhaps a little older, I would have eventually found the beauty in the deeply engrossing title that was unlike anything else released for the NES. Yeah, the controls were a bit funky and the title was pretty esoteric, but for adults out there who didn’t want to jump on cartoon mushrooms, this was probably a breath of fresh air. The series has continued to thrive over several console generations, as millions of players around the world continue to try and unite the various regions of Japan through both diplomacy and war.
Thank you all again for sticking around with me for the past year, and I hope you all have a happy E3!